Creative Writing For English Practitioners

To kick start our NEW ‘in the spotlight’ section of the newsletter, we have a weekly online Creative Writing group for English Practitioners facilitated by Sue Lownsbrough, Regional Specialist Lead (RSL) for the North-West.

“I love these meetings!!”

Since the beginning of lockdown I have been working with a group from the post 16 sector on a creative writing project mainly for (but not exclusively) English teachers. The idea for the project came from work that was undertaken by the National Association for the Teaching of English who ran The National Writing Project.

Their aim was to see whether

“teachers writing together develop confidence and self-realisation and strengthen pedagogy through the practice of writing and through the conversations which arise around written texts…” and suggests “writing groups have an impact on teachers that goes beyond the development of craft.” .

Our group, which has members from across the country, meets once a week at 4pm for an hour (though this will reduce in the autumn term!). Each meeting has different approaches which emerge through conversations about our experiences and writing over the previous week. We usually have a writing prompt and those who have had the time and feel comfortable share what they have written with the group. We also have some lively discussions about emerging themes for example feminism and feminism from a man’s perspective. Last week we completed some writing tasks during the meeting and everyone said how useful and enjoyable it was.

We also have a Padlet where the group can upload what they have written if they want. The Padlet is also a library of useful resources and links for the teaching and learning aspect of our roles. There are grammar resources, articles about paragraphing, ideas to develop learners’ transactional writing, prompts for creative writing ideas.

One of the most striking outcomes of taking part for me is how anxious the task of writing makes me feel and I now have an understanding how learners can feel both in class and in the examinations. Another member of the group wrote a story at the same time as her learners and she reported back that it felt challenging. This experience and knowledge can have a great impact on how we plan and teach creative writing which will benefit the learners and develop us as practitioners.

The group has about 20 members with between 7 and 10 attending each meeting which is big enough for discussion and sharing in an hour. We would like to support other groups to start across the country. We can give them advice about how to get started and they can share our Padlet and hopefully at some point over the next year we may get the chance to meet up.